Planning Ahead for Caregivers

People are often surprised to learn that most of the care given to the elderly in the U.S. is provided by caregivers. It is then common for them to ask, “What can we do to make caregiving easier should we need it?”

The simple answer is to have a plan.

First steps might include:

  • Review bank and financial arrangements; Seek help from a financial advisor about how to maximize assets to pay for the care of a loved one Create a safe environment at home; safety checklists are available on www.aarp.com
  • Look into benefits; i.e., social security, pension, disability and veterans
  • Maintain medical records
  • Consider care options available now and in the future, such as you home, someone else’s home, independent living retirement community, assisted living, nursing home, continuing care retirement community
  • Determine how you will pay for the care
  • Know that elder depression, although common, is not a part of growing old. Learn to recognize the signs of depression. Is the house dirty, where it once was clean? Are they neglecting chores that they once liked to do? Are they neglecting their own hygiene? Is the refrigerator and/or pantry stocked?
  • Identify resources to help you (an elder law attorney can assist you with this)
  • Decide on either estate planning or guardianship

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